Emotional week all around for Redskins' Bowen

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On many days, Washington Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen leaves practice and goes straight to the hospital to visit his infant son, who is now nearly the size of a regular newborn.

''I'm there all the time, any chance I get,'' Bowen said. ''I'm just trying to be familiar with him, let him be familiar with me. And seeing him fighting, it was a long road for him.''

This week, there will be a new milestone. Little Stephen III will be released from the hospital on Friday, if all goes well. The baby room in the Bowen house is just about ready, except for a paint job.

And it just so happens that the big day comes during a particularly excitable week at work for Dad. On Monday night, Bowen returns to face his old team when the Redskins visit the Dallas Cowboys.

''It's going to be emotional for me. I'm going to be ready to go,'' Bowen said Wednesday. ''My only point is to go down there and get a win. ... I really want this win.''

His teammates and coaches can only admire how he's able to handle it all.

''You're talking about someone who's mentally tough,'' coach Mike Shanahan said. ''And he's so tight with his family. For him to be able to do what he's done is amazing in itself. I take my hat off to him. It sounds like the baby's doing well; it should be home Friday. I know that means a lot to him as it does the rest of the team.''

To recap, Bowen and wife Tiffany became the parents of twins on June 28. Skyler and Stephen III were born extremely premature, some four months early, and Skyler died 10 days later. Stephen III remained hospitalized in Dallas while Bowen found himself on the move, signing a five-year, $27.5 million deal as a free agent with the Redskins, ending his five seasons with the Cowboys.

So Bowen reported to his new team for training camp and didn't see his son for a month, relying on daily updates from his wife. Tiffany, Stephen III and the couple's young daughter, Trinity, finally were able to move to the Washington area a couple of weeks ago.

Stephen III weighed about 2 pounds when Bowen left Dallas. On Wednesday morning, Bowen received a text message from Tiffany with the latest encouraging update: 6 pounds, 5 ounces.

''There's nothing like seeing him in person,'' Bowen said. ''It's a totally different baby. I'm just proud of him. ... It's just about him having great days in a row, and hopefully Friday will be the day for him to come home.''

As for Monday, Bowen says he's going down to Dallas to ''prove a point.'' So what point is he trying to prove? That the Cowboys should have kept him?

''No, it's not that point,'' he said. ''They may feel that way after the game, but my point is just to go out there and help my teammates win.''

Bowen, for the most part, wasn't an every-down player with the Cowboys, although he got the chance to start in the second half of last season after Marcus Spears was sidelined with a calf injury. Still, even before then, Bowen was an integral point of the defensive line rotation and was well-liked in the locker room.

''I wish he was still here. He's a great friend of mine,'' Dallas linebacker DeMarcus Ware said. ''We've been through a lot. Now it's weird; we're on rival teams.''

Bowen says he still speaks to Ware once or twice a week and plans to go out to eat with some of his old teammates on Sunday.

''Unfortunately, when you have players that people around the league like, it's hard to keep them all,'' Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. ''And Stephen Bowen's certainly one of those guys. ... He's the kind of guy you want on your team. We certainly were trying to keep him, but the business of the NFL sometimes gets involved and it's hard to keep everybody. He certainly makes Washington better.''

Bowen is enjoying his every-down role with the Redskins. He had a sack in the Week 1 win over the New York Giants and has meshed well with fellow starters Barry Cofield and Adam Carriker, part of a defense that has seven sacks from six different players in the team's 2-0 start.

Not the kind of performance one would expect from a supposedly distracted player.

''It's got to be tough. It can be hard to separate work from your personal life, especially with a situation such as that,'' said. ''But, to be honest, he's done well. I've just let him know if he ever needs anything from me, he can always get it. But he's done real well. It's actually pretty impressive how he's handled it.''


Joseph White can be reached at

Tagged: Redskins, Stephen Bowen, Cowboys

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